Proserpine business owner Chris Pilgrim has been forced to shut down truss manufacture after the wet weather.
Proserpine business owner Chris Pilgrim has been forced to shut down truss manufacture after the wet weather. Peter Carruthers

Proserpine sawmill slips through the cracks

THE mill floor is empty and the only sound is of galvanised tin gently banging in the wind at Pacman and Sons timber truss factory in Proserpine.

Twelve months on, to the day, damage caused by the second most expensive cyclone in Australia's history has forced the end to manufacture of timber truss fames at the Mann St site.

Water coming through damaged roofs has made the electric operated saws and other machinery unsafe and owner of the business Chris Pilgrim has been forced to send workers home.

"We have got machinery there and equipment we own getting wet whenever it rains,” he said.

The truss plant has been shut down since November last year when it employed six or seven full time staff.

Now three are left with jobs.

Mr Pilgrim said workers had received "tingles” from failing electrical equipment and had been advised by lawyers to cease operation of the saws.

"With the way the buildings are and no direction in getting them repaired, what else could we do?” he said.

"Am I going to go out an invest in a new saw that was burnt out by the cyclone?

"Am I going to try and get these orders for these builders who when its dry want their things but when its raining we can make them?

"When we have no idea about when the buildings are going to be repaired.”

The business is caught between a rock and a hard place as Mr Pilgrim owns all the equipment and the business but leases the sheds.

The owner of the buildings has not yet been able to finalise the insurance claim.

Mr Pilgrim said he had come to an arrangement with his landlord to pay less rent but he claimed it stated in his lease contract the landlord had a responsibility to maintain and repair the damaged buildings.

The business owner said he felt like he had fallen through the cracks of the system and the viability of the business was now in question.

"I don't know which way to turn,” he said.

"I have tried talking to George Christensen, I have tried talking to Legal Aid. But all these places say 'sorry we can't help you',” he said. "I am the bloke who is trying to run a business and generate jobs for people but no one out there can help us.”


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